Author Topic: Maintaining fitness while injured  (Read 2295 times)

Maintaining fitness while injured
« on: July 05, 2018, 09:37:25 am »
I've spent the last 9 months following a variety of Trainer Road plans, with a view to increasing my power and making myself faster. I've definitely seen improvements, however on Sunday I sprained my foot to the extent that 4 days later it (and the ankle) are still twice the size of the other side and I can only just hobble about. I'm guessing it's going to be a few weeks before I can get on the bike and longer before I can train properly.
Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can avoid losing lots of my hard won fitness (or should I take this as the end of a "season" and accept I've got a month of losing fitness before beginning base again for next year)? I have a turbo, but I'm not a member of a gym (and I doubt I could get through an induction while I can barely walk).

Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 11:20:23 am »
I guess it's still early days in terms of knowing how soon you might be mobile again. I wouldn't say you need to write off the year yet as is still only just July and will have a good base fitness that isn't going to disappear in a few weeks. Once swelling etc. has subsided then perhaps something like swimming could be a good option, as might just trying out short rides on a turbo. Caution is probably wise though as tendons/ligaments are a bugger to heal and you don't want to end up making things worse long-term by going at things too soon. It could be well worth seeing a specialist sports physio experienced in injury recovery and the like as will be able to assess you as an individual and advise accordingly.

Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 02:34:07 pm »
I will definitely go see a physio once the swelling has gone down if it isn't usable. I had forgotten about swimming. I'm not sure it's a particularly effective training tool for me as my technique is so bad a couple of lengths and I'm knackered. Also I can't do breaststroke (old knee issues), so it would mostly be about my arms, and I'm a typical cyclist!
I might try some core stuff if I can work out how to do it without hurting my foot.

Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 02:46:53 pm »
I sprained my ankle on February 3rd of this year.
Spent a week resting, with it elevated, compressed and iced.
On the seventh day, feeling rested I thought I'd venture out.
3 x 5 minute walks between bus rides and a couple of shop visits, and I f*cked it up royally - the following day my leg had swollen half way up my calf.
Too much too soon.
Saw my GP, she referred me to the physio in hospital, where I have been having treatment every four weeks since then.
It was the beginning of May, that for the first time I felt able to get back on the bike.
I'm still only doing alternate days - but that is more to do with my @rse being out of condition than anything else.
Monday of this week, I had a physio session.
It is the first one I've had where I have felt 'Oh, we're actually making some progress now'
My next appointment has now been moved from a four week, to a six week interval.

ETA - given your age, you should recover in less time that it has taken me to do so.

Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 06:00:04 pm »
Were you getting treatment while your ankle was swollen, or was that only when your ankle had resumed it's previous size?
My sprain was slap bang in the middle of my foot, but the ankle is swollen as well as the foot (and much of the foot is turning into one giant bruise)!

Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 07:22:55 pm »
The brief answer is yes. I was getting treatment from the outset - well, about 2 weeks after spraining it.
My ankle remains swollen / mis-shapen when you do an A/B comparison with the uninjured one - albeit (now) only very slightly.
The level of treatment I have received has initially been very, very gentle. And progressing to more aggressive / impactful very gradually.
As has been mentioned upstream, a good sports physio is probably the best bet for getting you back into competing in your chosen event.
I've used the Sports Injuries Clinic at Crystal Palace Sports Centre on a number of occasions, and cannot fault them.
However, they cost, and I guess that they are not local to you.
On this occasion, as I've no major event looming, I'm happy to leave it to the NHS to treat me.
It's less of a stopwatch, more of a calendar, when it comes to their schedule......


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Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2018, 11:46:07 pm »
Admittedly my ankle sprain was fairly mild but I found cycling was fine when walking was a struggle as there was no inversion strain.


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Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 05:00:55 pm »
For me it really does depend on the injury.   I do get sore ankles after long distance runs, but these aren't impacted by cycling.   Generally knee problems are the same, although I did take 2 weeks off when I had knee problems on a hilly 600.  Where I had a longer period off - broken arm - I used a turbo trainer (which is a last resort).

If you have a high level of fitness, it will come back quite quickly once you return to training, and there are a couple of times where I think (in retrospect) a break actually did some good.  I broke a finger in a crash at the end of June (having had a whole series of hard events) and was off the bike for 2 - 3 weeks in the summer a few years back.  I had a couple of events in August to complete an SR series, and absolutely nailed them - was riding better than I had done for a couple of years.
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Re: Maintaining fitness while injured
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2018, 05:25:02 pm »
I did a bit of swimming, but not much - kicking put my foot in a position that hurt, so I ended up just hauling myself around using my arms and that wasn't enjoyable. Basically didn't really train at all while I was off the bike. I went to physio after a few weeks, and I've been going back fortnightly - it's slowly getting better and I can ride and walk OK, but I can't properly push off my foot or do high torque low cadence riding.
I did a pretty decent TT (for me) a week ago, so I can't have lost too much fitness. I'm going to do an FTP test tomorrow and see how I get on (I did one a couple of weeks ago which I bailed on when my foot hurt), I expect to have a drop of 30ish W, which isn't great, but means I start my September about 50W up on last September. :)